It’s no secret that our family is a big fan of good movies. So it might come as no surprise that we have certainly seen the most recent, and last, Harry Potter film. First of all, most but not all of our family are fans of the books. We find them wonderfully written. Other members of our family are more interested in just the films. For myself, personally, there was an opportunity several years ago to read all the books that had been published to that date, and read them straight through. Then we watched the films. Straight through. Experiencing the stories like that, I was able to realize what I perceive to be the underlying purpose and point of the stories. Not to glorify evil, as some opponents have claimed. Not to promote some sinister hidden agenda. But to simply use incredibly imaginative fantasy to show the value of love and friendship. To show that families sometime protect, but sometimes abuse (Dursleys). To show that friendships can evolve into such strong ties of love and trust and support that a version of family is created. So now I am delighted to say that we have seen this last film twice. Twice for a first-run film is very, very unusual for us, but unfortunately the first time we saw it, a power outage stopped the film just before the end, and the theater offered return tickets, so we trekked back a second time, wanting to see those last scenes. The second time, and knowing how events would unfold, we were able to absorb more details and watch for more nuances. And there were two particular parts that impressed me greatly. One was the realization that the author, Ms. Rowling, has had all along a tremendous tendresse for all creatures, and the directors must, as well, because the scene of the pitiful dragon finding its way to the light from the deepest reaches of Gringotts’, carrying our three heroes with it, was for me so very moving, expressing that creature’s desperate yearning for freedom in the world and the freedom from terrible abuse. And then, at the very end (and I’m giving nothing away to sincere H.P. fans), when our three grownup heroes are watching the Hogwart’s Express pull away with their children, the looks on their faces expressed to me a wistfulness that they wished they were going, too. We all know there are as many points of view as there are members of any audience, so others will have to find their own, but these are mine.
Then there’s the matter of ‘Larry Crowne’. First of all, my personal conviction is that Tom Hanks has probably earned more Oscars than any other actor with whom I am familiar, certainly several more than the two he has been awarded, so if he makes a movie, we see it. And I think we’ve seen them all, with the exception of ‘Bachelor Party,’ which was an early-days one and not of interest to us. Now we’ve read reviews about Larry Crowne, and all we can say is that the reviewer(s) didn’t see the same film we did. We found it funny at times, poignant at times, and utterly believable. And sadly topical at times, because so many are having to deal with what these characters were having to deal with: losing a job, finding out a marriage was toxic, trying to deal with stereotypes. No car chases, no violence, just a good story with interesting characters, a great way to spend a hot summer afternoon. And find some encouragement for the human race along the way.